Cellular Innate Immunity

Cellular Innate Immunity2022-01-05T10:58:51+01:00

Professor Philipp Henneke, MD

Professor of Infection and Immunity
E: philipp.henneke@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Ronja Messmer (Assistant to P. Henneke)
E: ronja.messmer@uniklinik-freiburg.de
T: +49 (0)761 270-77542
F: +49 (0)761 270-77600

Medical Center– University of Freiburg
Institute for Immunodeficiency, Center for Chronic Immunodeficiency (CCI)
and Center for Pediatrics, Department of General Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine and Neonatology, Section for Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Breisacher Str. 115
79106 Freiburg

Our research investigates the role of macrophages in human health and disease. Macrophages are the most abundant immune cells resident at interfaces with the microbiota. We investigate the development, activation and microenvironmental programming of macrophages and the impact on tissue homeostasis, mucosal control of bacteria and pathogenesis of streptococcal, staphylococcal and mycobacterial infections.

Main methods:

  • Clinical studies
  • Infection models in vitro and in mice (including fate mapping)
  • High resolution and time lapse microscopy
  • Flow cytometry of rare tissue cell subsets
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If you are interested in joining our research team as an MD or PhD student or as a post-doc, please contact Philipp Henneke (philipp.henneke@uniklinik-freiburg.de) with a short description of your research experience and interests.

For more information about individual team members, please click on their names.

Group Leader: Philipp Henneke

Postnatal Macrophage Development

  • Julia Kolter (post doc)
  • Clarissa-Laura Döring (Master’s student)
  • Mirjam Freudenhammer (PhD student)
  • Aaron Forde (PhD student)
  • Vitka Gres (PhD student)
  • Clara Gadatsch (MD student)
  • Ramona Eckert (MD student)

Mycobacterial Immunity

Macrophage reprogramming by CMV

Junior Group: Antiviral Innate Immunity

SARS-CoV-2 transmission patterns in children; host and pathogen determinants of human parechovirus infections.

  • Roland Elling (Junior Group Leader)
  • Alexander Hilger (PhD student)



Major topics of the laboratory are:

  • Macrophage differentiation in tissue immunity against mycobacteria. Multinuclear macrophages (MGC) are the hallmark of mycobacterial granulomas. We investigate the cellular and metabolic basis of MGC formation in granulomas as potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets in mycobacterial infections. A specific focus lies on lipid biosynthesis and macrophage progenitors.
  • Development and environmental adaptation of sub-mucocutaneous and CNS macrophages at the beginning of life. Key questions: Are microanatomical niches imprinting differentiation programs on macrophages ? How does origin and self renewal impact on these processes? How does niche driven macrophage adaptation impact on tissue defense against staphylococci and streptococci and on tissue repair?
  • Impact of early cytomegalovirus infections on macrophage/ monocyte programming. Key questions: What is the influence of cytomegalovirus infections on intestinal macrophage development? How does early cytomegalovirus infection affect the immune response to bacterial infections later in life?
  • Role of macrophages in intestinal homeostasis. Key questions: Which signaling events guide regulatory properties of lamina propria macrophages? Can synthetic macrophages be engineered as cell therapy for intestinal inflammation?
  • Monogenetic defects in cellular innate immunity. Key questions: Which genes in myeloid and epithelial cells are essential for anti-microbial defense in children? How do aberrations in these genes drive immunopathology?


Complete list of publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=henneke+p



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